Steelers force Browns to crumble in fourth quarter to pick up first win of season

23:58 18.09.2023 - FOX News, Scott Thompson

Browns may have lost Nick Chubb for the season after gruesome left knee injury.

A wild AFC North matchup on Monday night resulted in the Pittsburgh Steelers pulling off a fourth-quarter comeback to defeat the Cleveland Browns, 26-22.

The big turning point of the game came in the fourth quarter when Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith, who already had a pick-six on the first play from scrimmage in this game, got through the Browns' offensive line and forced the ball out of Deshaun Watson's hand.

With the ball on the ground, T.J. Watt, who set the Steelers all-time sacks record in the second quarter at 81.5, scooped up the loose ball and ran it into the end zone to flip the momentum back to Pittsburgh. It was his first career touchdown, and it couldn't have come at a better time as the score moved to 26-22 in the fourth quarter.

The Browns were able to get a big stop later on 3rd-and-1 to force a punt from the Steelers, giving Cleveland over two minutes to drive down the field in comeback fashion. But Watson didn't have the late-game magic to bring Cleveland to its first 2-0 start since 1993.

Watson completed a few passes, but wasn't able to find Donovan Peoples-Jones on fourth down near midfield, ending the game in favor of the Steelers.

It's Pittsburgh's first win of the season after falling to the San Francisco 49ers last week, while Cleveland falls to 1-1.

This back-and-forth battle got off to a wacky start at the first play from scrimmage, when Watson threw a pass to tight end Harrison Bryant that bounced around before Highsmith plucked it from the air and ran it back 30 yards for a pick-six. The Acrisure Stadium crowd erupted as the home team got out to a 7-0 lead.

But the Steelers' first offensive drive of the game didn't go so well either. Second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett threw a pass intended for George Pickens right into the hands of Grant Delpit.

The turnover party wasn't over in the first quarter, though, as Watson fumbled, and then Gunner Olszewski did the same on the first play of the ensuing drive.

Watson used that second chance to finally get into the end zone, but one of the Browns' key players suffered a gruesome injury. Running back Nick Chubb, who was having a great half, was hit in the left knee by safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who also suffered a chest injury on the play.

Fitzpatrick's impact on the leg of Chubb caused his knee to bend back awkwardly, and Chubb was in immediate pain. The injury was so bad that the ESPN broadcast refused to show the replay, and with the play going viral on social media, there was a good reason why that was the case.

Chubb was carted off the field, and his face said all that was needed to show how serious the injury could be for the veteran running back. He finished the game with 10 carries for 64 yards.

His backup, Jerome Ford, was able to punch in his first career touchdown, rushing three yards for the score to take a 9-7 lead.

The Steelers were able to force a couple of punts from the Browns, and after a field goal make it 11-10, Pickett was able to find Pickens on a slant route and the electric wide receiver used his speed to take it to the house for a 71-yard touchdown.

Pickens finished the game with a game-high 127 yards on just four catches, though Pickett did target him 10 times.

While the Steelers tallied the victory, offense needs to be addressed quickly as Pickett once again struggled. He was just 15 of 30 through the air with one touchdown and his interception. The run game also struggled with Najee Harris rushing for just 43 yards on 10 carries.

For the Browns, there's no sugarcoating how much of a loss Chubb would be, but Ford did well with his chance in the offense. He had 106 yards rushing on 16 attempts to lead the team. Amari Cooper also finished with a team-high 90 receiving yards.

The Browns return home next week to host the Tennessee Titans, who are in search of their first win of the year. The Steelers finally hit the road to face the Las Vegas Raiders in Sin City next Sunday night.

/ Monday, September 18, 2023, 11:58 PM /

themes:  San Francisco  California  Tennessee  Las Vegas

T.J. Watt's fumble return touchdown secures Steelers win over Browns

PITTSBURGH - T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith knew what was coming.

Maybe the Cleveland Browns should have, too.

It's the same thing that always seems to be coming when they visit Pittsburgh in the regular season.

A loss.

This one painful in multiple ways.

The Steelers star linebackers combined for a scoop-and-score midway through the fourth quarter to pull out an improbable 26-22 victory on Monday night.

The Steelers extended their regular-season home winning streak against their AFC North rivals to 20 and counting in a victory overshadowed by a serious left knee injury to Cleveland star running back Nick Chubb.

The four-time Pro Bowler's sixth NFL season ended two plays into the second quarter after the knee bent awkwardly when he was hit low by Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

He went to the hospital as a precaution before returning to Cleveland.

"We feel for Nick as a person," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. "He's a great football player as we know and an even better person. We will support him every step of the way."

Even with their leader sidelined, the Browns were protecting a three-point lead and facing second-and-9 at their own 20 with 7:06 remaining when Watt and Highsmith went to work.

The two longtime teammates sensed a play-action pass was coming, so they widened their stance a little bit in an effort to get a better attack angle off the edge.

Highsmith - who began the night with a 30-yard pick-6 on the first offensive snap - blew past Browns left tackle Jedrick Wills and chopped the ball out of DeShaun Watson's hands as the Cleveland quarterback ran to his right.

The Browns' fourth and final turnover ended up in the hands of Watt, who ran untouched across the goal line before high-stepping in celebration.

"Splash," Watt said. "I think that's what we talk about is creating splash as a defense."

And the Browns went splat, an annual event in Pittsburgh for two decades, save for a breathtaking upset in the first round of the 2020 playoffs.

Cleveland hoped that victory would serve as the start of something.

Instead, it's been more of the same. The Browns have failed to reach the postseason each of the last two years and now must find a way forward without one of their unquestioned leaders.

Jerome Ford, Chubb's replacement, ran for 106 yards and caught a 3-yard touchdown pass, but Cleveland's miscues cost it a chance to win at Pittsburgh in the regular season for the first time since 2003.

Watson completed 22 of 40 for 235 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

He was also flagged twice for unsportsmanlike conduct for grabbing the facemask of a Steeler while running. The penalties cut a pair of promising drives short.

The Browns were penalized eight times for 81 yards and turned it over four times, two of which ended with a member of one of the best edge-rusher tandems in the NFL celebrating in the end zone.

The Steelers avoided their first 0-2 start since 2019 even though their offense continued to sputter.

Kenny Pickett connected on 15 of 30 passes for 222 yards, a third of them coming on a 71-yard catch-and-run touchdown by George Pickens in the second quarter that briefly brought the Acrisure Stadium crowd to life.

Cleveland still appeared to be in good position when Ford raced 69 yards to set up a 1-yard dive by Pierre Strong that put the Browns ahead 22-19 midway through the third quarter.

Pittsburgh's offense did next to nothing for most of the second half, leading to chants from the crowd to fire coordinator Matt Canada.

Highsmith's bull rush off the edge and Watt's scoop-and-score bailed the Steelers out, making them the second team since 1991 to win a game they were trailing in the fourth quarter despite having negative yardage in the quarter.

"We're not going to apologize for winning," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said.

Maybe, but there is plenty to work on.

The Steelers needed multiple defensive touchdowns - the first time they've done in a game since a 23-7 win over Tennessee in 2010 - to survive.

That's not repeatable on a weekly basis.

Pittsburgh will worry about that later. Monday night was about finding a way, the way the Steelers always seem to find a way at home when the Browns are on the other side of the field.

"It's special coming out and just having the performance that we did," Highsmith said. "But we were far from perfect. We need to be much better."

All rights to the materials belong to the sources indicated under the heading of each news and their authors.